Bye week. Time to get healthy. Refresh the body, refresh the mind, prepare for the run before the stretch run. And I hope the Saints are taking advantage of the bye week too! Badum-dum! Ha-cha-cha-cha chah!
Last Sunday was weird. I went to the Po-Boy Fest with the wife and didn’t think about football all day. I had all this free time to do some fun stuff, got a few things done around the house I’ve been neglecting forever, puttered around the garage, etc. Kind of a typical suburban husband weekend. All in all, pretty lame! (Just kidding, wife!)
A few things about the NFC race emerged from the bye week, however: 1. The Giants are not the world beaters they were purported to be, 2. The Falcons are the best team in the NFC – until I saw Monday Night Football and now, 3. The Eagles are the best team in the NFC (maybe). And that’s not even bringing up the Saints, Bucs, Packers, Bears or NFC West Team To Be Announced (from now on known as NFCW:TBA). What a mess!
The Carolina game seems like a million years ago already, but the Saints finally put together a solid, three-phase win. Who cares if the Panthers were overmatched/struck by the injury bug/maybe quit a little bit? Atlanta’s got them twice before the end of the season; think they care?
Forget playoff scenarios, and wild cards, and tie breakers, and all that. The only thing that matters around here until the last week of the season is the next game. And the next game is the NFC West Division-leading Seattle Seahawks. I like the Saints when Payton has an extra week to think about what they’re going to do, but here’s what Madden had to say:
SEA @ NOR 11/21/10, 3 p.m. (note the unusual start time and extra tailgating time!)
Seattle gets the ball first and moves the ball well until it’s third and long. Interception Patrick Robinson! Good job, rook! Colston gets involved early with Bush on the field drawing away double coverage on him and Meachem scores from the 14. Seattle punt, then Henderson for a 26-yard TD.
The Saints’ problems with pesky TEs continues as Hasselbeck hooks up with Carlson for a TD. Another long drive, this time courtesy of Julius Jones, ends with a Colston TD. Seattle’s Golden (Brown) Tate(rs) answers with a TD. A few more punts then Shockey scores on Brees’ fourth touchdown toss. Saints up 28-14 at the half.
Unfortunately for Seattle, New Orleans gets the ball first and they have no answer for Colston. Touchdown! Now there’s blood in the water; here comes the blitz, Seahawks! Seahawks miss a FG and Henderson scores on the short field. Tate fumbles, Sharper, ever in the right place at the right time, recovers. Another Betts TD on the ground and a meaningless TD by Seattle’s Williams late makes the 49-21 Seahawks beatdown.
Brees hits 25 of 36, 362 yards, 6 (yes, six) TDs and 1 INT. Saints are +1 in turnovers and 8 of 9 on third down, while Seattle is 5 of 9, mostly in garbage time. Julius Jones has 11 carries for 71 yards, Colston catches 7 for 107, 2 TDs, Shockey grabs 5 for 63, TD, and Henderson breaks out of his slump going 4 for 77 yards and 2 TDs. Bush is back, and has 115 yards on seven touches – three catches, two runs, and two punt returns.
Looking forward to: Michael Vick’s comeback story taking over as the lead ‘soap opera’ narrative for the NFL. I grew up in an evangelical church where sinners would commonly give their “testimony”. This is where the now-reformed Christian tells the story of just how low he or she got before the Lord turned around their life. The worse they were in sin, the worse the things they did, the more they had to overcome, the better the testimony. This reminds me of that – for whatever reason – killing dogs gets a far more intense emotional response from the public than a vehicular homicide (Donte Stallworth), or (more than one) alleged rape (Ben Rothleisberger), meaning Vick has been the biggest sinner of any NFL player in recent history. This is going to be fun to watch the media/NFL do a complete reworking of their Vick narrative and turn Vick’s sins into simply great background for his redemption.
Two years ago: “Dog fighting! Dog murderer! DROWNING dogs! Electrocuting dogs! Killing Dogs With His Bare Hands! Prison! Deserves it! Screw that guy! Hate that guy! Bad! Bad! Bad! (Also, never lived up to expectations for the Falcons).”
For the rest of the year: “Comeback! Reformed! Thankful! New guy both on the field and off (not a dog murderer anymore at all)! Michael Vick for MVP! MVP! MVP! (also, former dog murderer) MVP!”
Not looking forward to: Sure it’s fun to rubberneck on the carnage of a crash and burn – for a while (Brett who?). But the focus always turns to winners, no matter what they did before (see Michael Vick above). And I’m gonna miss reveling just a little bit in other’s misery. Except for the Cowboys! Schadenfreude, anyone? Hell yes! As The Onion “reported“:
According to a recent USA Today poll, 45 percent of the country said that no team deserves to perform this terribly under this much pressure, except for the Dallas Cowboys. Thirty-two percent said that the season has been emotionally taxing for people who grew up worshipping Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith, and that those people should probably go fuck themselves anyway.
Ninety-nine percent of respondents said that if karma has caught up with the Cowboys, and they are finally getting payback for all the times Michael Irvin pushed off and was never called for it, or all the years they mysteriously never played an away game in December, then karma is the greatest thing in the history of the world.
Let’s hope they go back to being pathetic by next week.
Media Prediction: Michael Vick will win MVP (Most Valuable Prisoner)! ”Remember that time that really kickass quarterback was framed just so he would have to play in the Warden’s sadistic football game? And his best friend on the inside (who incidentally was saved by Vick’s bow and arrows after he was raped by hillbillies) was killed by a gasoline-filled light bulb? And he was supposed to throw the game? And then he didn’t? And now he’s a hero to all the other prisoners, which is good because he is going to stay in there a long time?” Wait a minute…
Madden Tip: I haven’t tried it yet because I’m a little confused (okay, lazy), but apparently there is a 3D version of Madden online right now. It has something to do with Doritos. Yes, the snack. No, I don’t know what flavor-dusted corn chips have to do with fake football, nor do I know if 3D glasses make them taste better, but I will figure out what the hell is going on and get back to you. No, I am not making this up.